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NCIS “Nature of the Beast”

  • Tony in the hospital all rattled and trying to remember what happened that landed him there; his gun was found at the scene and had been fired twice. There was a bloody badge — and it wasn’t his blood or NCIS badge, meaning he may have shot a fellow agent. He was shot but saved by his bullet-proof vest. He was lucky. And so were we, because we got to witness Michael Weatherly outdo himself with “Nature of the Beast.” It’s his best performance — even better than the ones he gave in “Baltimore,” “Flesh and Blood,” and “Truth or Consequences;” or even “SWAK,” “Frame-Up” and “Bounce.”
  • You can tell Gibbs wants to unload all over Dinozzo for agreeing to the SecNav’s mission. But Gibbs held back. Dinozzo was a bit fragile and he knew it. His anger was the last thing he needed.
  • Even though Tony didn’t tell Gibbs the specifics about the SecNav mission at least Vance had informed Gibbs that their boss wanted his agent for something. Gibbs was still understandably pissed off, however. Love how he goes into protective mode for his team.
  • I’m sorry but this may have been Michael’s hottest episode ever too. He looked great on the golf course. And at the driving range (he’s a skilled shooter, isn’t he?). And adorable in the hospital garb.
  • Tony played golf with his dad as a kid on holiday. Love learning character backstory, even though it had to come in Season 9.
  • Ziva officially becomes an agent. Good for her. Although, sorry Ziva. You and Tony aren’t equals. He’s still your boss. He is the senior field agent.
  • Ziva says she’s going on vacation to Central America to see an old friend. I wonder if that friend will be popping up in D.C. this season? What advice does she need from this woman?
  • Ducky starts the ball rolling as far as the team finding out about the microchip. He caught E.J. on camera removing something from Levin.
  • It was so weird seeing the team at a crime scene sans Tony.
  • I loved that Tony had a classic movie on the TV in the hospital room. That’s so Tony. And then to find out a little more about his mother — so amazing. Yes, I may have teared up at this point. But, here’s the thing. The writers on this show are talented at only letting drips of information out at a time. We know Tony’s mom died in a hospital. But how did she die? What killed her? When are we going to find out? This show is so frustrating sometimes.
  • I love how well Gibbs and Dinozzo know each other. Even when it doesn’t seem like they’re on the same page, they are on the same page.
  • Scott Wolf comes on as “FBI Agent” Stratton. Nice casting, by the way. They wisely scruffed him up a little bit. And I completely and utterly love the fact that he ended up being a bad guy. Well, at least as far as we know. Wolf played kind of a tool on ABC’s V, but I’m liking the fact that he’s this mysterious, ominous element. Good move for Wolf too. It definitely seems like he’ll be back. He was totally in there in the hospital to get rid of Tony, right? Dr. Rachel Cranston being present was probably a good thing for Tony.
  • Did you see Gibbs’ fierce protective streak at work in that scene with Stratton? How great was that? He wasn’t letting him near Tony. Although, Stratton found a way to get into Tony’s room anyway.
  • I loved all the Phoofs.
  • Phillip Casnoff as Sean Latham. I knew he was going to be sneaky, underhanded and an all-round bad guy. He plays a great villain. If you don’t believe me, just watch the classic 80s miniseries North and South, that also starred Patrick Swayze. I’ve adored Casnoff since then. Looks like we may be seeing him sometime in the future as well.
  • The deceased Levin and Wright had been part of some elite squad known as the Phantom 8 — they tried to prevent terrorist acts before they happened. Here’s where the microchip came into play — each operative was tagged with a pass key (in microchip form). It gives them access worldwide to the Watcher database. Enemies would pay top dollar for it.
  • I love that Gibbs made Tony cook them all dinner. And they had a little fun. And Gibbs did his best Mike Franks impression. You can tell he misses his friend something fierce.
  • Tony and Gibbs got EJ to lure Cade back to town. Tony knew Cade was the guy in the picture.
  • Wendy Makkena and Mark Harmon have a really nice chemistry.
  • Matt Craven is so good as the new Secretary of the Navy, Clayton Jarvis. He often plays tools too. Like in the movie Indian Summer. The jury’s out on how much this new SecNav will be an aide or a detriment to the team. I hope the show’s going to include the SecNav more. I always hated only seeing his predecessor a few times over the years.
  • They used Tony to get E.J. and Cade together — and were going to make it look he killed them. He was used again. Poor Tony. But at least he knows he didn’t kill anyone. The shots from his gun that were fired were all done post mortem. And Tony knows it was Stratton that did the dirty deed.
  • I wonder if we’re going to get to see Abby actually reference Cade’s death. I hope so. They were close.
  • Now E.J. has disappeared. I wonder if she’s going to pop up again. Latham and Stratton are in cahoots. He tells the “FBI Agent” to look for EJ. Are they just going to let Tony go? Maybe they think he doesn’t remember who killed Cade and shot him and E.J.. Then the dastardly duo start selling the microchips to the highest bidder. These two are bad guys. I’m highly intrigued by this story – and even more once Gibbs opens up the “insurance” Mike Franks left for him. There’s a folder and in it is a file with a picture of the Phantom 8 including Latham, Levin, Wright and Casey Stratton. I wonder when they’re going to revisit this story.
  • This was a wonderful way to kick off a new season. Kudos to all involved but especially Gary Glasberg (who wrote the episode), Michael Weatherly and Mark Harmon. The hospital scenes between Weatherly and guest star Wendy Makkena were truly satisfying. Need more. Hope she’s coming back. One thing though:
  • Why wasn’t the scene in this CBS press photo included in the episode? I don’t remember seeing this at all in “Nature of the Beast.”
  • Was there some sort of deleted scene? Inquiring minds want to know.
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